Give a warm welcome to Judy Meadows, author of Escape From Behruz released on April 21, 2017!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Judy and Escape From Behruz.
First of all what inspired this particular story?
I love secret baby stories. A woman’s emotions revolving around childbirth—finding out she’s pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, caring for the new baby—are about as elemental and intense as it gets. And a man’s emotions—finding out he’s going to be a father, watching his partner’s belly grow, feeling the baby move, sharing in labor and birth, getting to know his new baby–are equally intense and elemental. For a woman to intentionally withhold the information that a man is going to be or has become a father is a huge betrayal.
And it’s good material for a story.
What can ruin a secret baby story for me is if the heroine’s motivation for withholding the information is weak (which it often is: i.e. “he would be mad at me”). So…I set out to write a secret baby story that had an unimpeachable motivation for keeping the secret. No one who knows her story will fault this heroine for keeping her secret. (Of course the hero does blame her, but not for long, not when he understands what her reasons were.)
That was the germ that sparked the plot. What could happen that would make it impossible for a woman to let the man she loves know about her pregnancy?
The story is set in a fictional country in the Middle East (located between Iran and Afghanistan). The locale also strongly influenced the plot. I chose the Middle East because I traveled in Iran and Afghanistan in the 70’s and lived in Iran for a year—all before the area was besieged by political turmoil and war. I loved the area and the people. I knew what it was like to be an American woman traveling there. So I made my heroine an American woman and plopped her down in that area.
What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?
I read! I can open my favorite book on writing, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Maass, to just about any page, and I’ll be inspired. Good fiction writing, any genre, inspires me. Writing by Rosamunde Pilcher, C.S. Lewis, and Vanessa James all somehow infiltrate my brain with their rhythms and sentence structure and make my writing more fluid.
Did you tell friends and family that you were writing a book? Or did it take a while to come out and tell friends and family you were a writer?
“Coming out” is an apt analogy for what it’s like to tell friends you’re writing a romance novel. I started by telling peripheral people (like someone I met while vacationing in Mexico, someone I was never going to see again). But there came a time when the only explanation for my lack of availability (What was I doing with my time?) was the truth. I’d written a successful nonfiction book by then (Touching Bellies, Touching Lives, about midwives in Mexico) so that helped a little, but what helped the most was joining my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Being with women who took their craft seriously and supported each other and learned from each other was what gave me the perspective I needed to be proud of the work myself.
What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
First and foremost: intense emotional satisfaction. I want them to really care about the characters and really share in the joy the characters feel when they get their happily-ever-after ending.
Secondly (this wasn’t my intention when I started writing about Behruz but I see it as a possible bonus effect), I hope reading my stories will help readers see past stereotypes about the Middle East. The characters are real people with real puppies and real quirks, talents and dreams.
Do you find it easier to write from a male or female point of view? Why?
Female! I would write from purely the female point of view, but publishers nowadays prefer a balance between the male and female points of view, so I’ve tackled that. I find I can get to know my hero and his motivation by looking at the heroine through his eyes. Why is he attracted to her? What does he long to have happen with her? How does he experience the pain of setbacks? How does it feel to love so deeply? Starting with that, he comes to life for me.
Okay, tell us a little about the story.
Rashid will escort Olivia and the baby through the mountains to Iran in order to escape the violence in Behruz, but he won’t let Olivia near his heart. Not again. Not after the way she trampled it two years ago.
Olivia accepts his help, but she has no interest in his heart. She’s never forgiven him for abandoning her when she needed him most. Still, she has to be careful. He mustn’t learn that the baby the world thinks is heir to the Behruzi throne is actually her son. And Rashid’s.
Can they make it through the trek, sharing a tent each night, without giving in to the attraction that has always drawn them together? Can Olivia hold in the secret that could destroy her?
Ohhh, sounds intriguing. Do you have a sneak peek from the book for us?
Walking toward the tent of her “husband,” Olivia felt like a bride. The mantle framed her face and fell down her back like a bride’s veil, and the long skirt swayed with every step. Rashid stood in front of the tent talking to Saddiq. He was wearing a long shirt and a wool vest like those worn by the other men. He was holding up a rifle, sighting along the barrel. He said something to Saddiq and handed him the rifle; then he turned and saw the procession of women approaching. Time stopped for several heartbeats when his eyes fell on Olivia. He seemed to straighten up, to become taller, and everything about him became very still.
She met his gaze boldly. The petticoats swished around her legs when she walked. She felt the swing of her arms, the sway of her hips, even the slight bounce of her breasts. All the women stood behind her, waiting for Rashid’s reaction.
“Spin around again like you did for us in the tent,” Fatima whispered to Olivia.
Rashid’s nomad clothes made him look primitive and very male. His eyes were intent on her, like the eyes of an animal watching its prey. He was motionless except for a slight quivering of his nostrils.
Olivia lifted her arms slowly, and the women stepped back away from her. Then she began the pirouette. She moved as if in a trance. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. But still the skirt rose, its colors blurring as she spun, and she felt dizzy and flushed when she stopped. She gave Rashid a smile that came from some new knowledge.
“You are a temptress,” he said in English. His eyes were dark pools that beckoned her to tempt and be tempted.
“The ladies are waiting to see what you think of their handiwork.”
He stepped toward her and reached his hand up to touch her face at her temple. Then he slid it down until it cupped the nape of her neck. A shiver of response rippled through her, but she didn’t move.
“She is very beautiful,” he said in Farsi. “The costume is perfect. She is perfect.” He kissed her lightly on the lips. The speculations and remarks of the nomads hushed. A crow cawed in the distance, and then it was silent too. She was mesmerized. She felt possessed.
About the Author:
I grew up and went to college in Minnesota but now live in a small town in Oregon with my husband Jim. I love to travel, read, hang out at the beach, cook, and play with grandchildren. I’ve always loved cats, but sadly find myself catless at the moment. Our 19-year-old Simba and 17-year-old Tinker Bell both died last year.
I worked as a systems analyst for IBM when I finished college. When I retired from that field, my husband and I bought a farm in northern California. We grew apples, Asian pears, and raspberries for ten years before retiring again, this time to Oregon.
When our only child was a senior in high school, we adopted a 10-year-old girl from a Russian orphanage. I spent two weeks in Moscow finalizing the adoption and then came home to start the parenting thing for a second time.
When our Russian daughter was settled into the family, I trained to become a doula and volunteered to help Spanish speaking women in labor at the hospital across the street from our home. Soon I was very busy. After a few years of doing pro bono work, I made a website and began to work as a doula professionally.
During 20 years of working as a doula, I’ve helped 460 women in labor. My second romance novel, Midwife in Behruz (sequel to Escape from Behruz) features a midwife and uses my experience with childbirth. I’ve just finished Midwife in Behruz and am beginning to plot the final book in what will be a trilogy of stories set in Behruz.
It was wonderful having you with us today. What an interesting life you’ve led Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Escape From Behruz.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Adventures, Behruz, Contemporary, Judy Meadows, Romance by email@example.com with 29 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Sky Purington, author of Fury of a Viking, fourth in the MacLomine series Viking Ancestors’ Kin just released on April 17,2017!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Fury of a Viking and Sky. Make sure you read all the way down and enter the Rafflecopter!
Here’s a snippet from Fury of a Viking:
He had learned an awful lot today and suffered from years of being haunted. Now his son was gone. So she figured if he wasn’t latching on to every little thing she said right away, that was okay. One step at a time. “You should get some rest, Matthew.”
“Yes,” he murmured. Yet the second she went to move, he grabbed her wrist gently. When he spoke, she realized he had, in fact, processed all of what she’d said. More than that, he must be catching glimpses of what she had seen. “There’s more to this. More to Uncle Kjar having my son. Somehow, they’re in that other place. Helheim.” He clenched his jaw as he struggled to come to terms with that. It seemed he had also telepathically caught what she hadn’t told him based on what he said next. “Do not put Emily’s life at risk for this, Shannon.” He shook his head. “And don’t put yours at risk either.”
She could tell by the way he said it, the emotion in his voice, that he fully understood why she held back. More than that, he agreed with her. He didn’t want Emily in harm’s way. Even if she could lead him to his son.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, guilt ridden. But she had to put her daughter first. “I just can’t put my baby in that kind of danger.” Emotion thickened her throat just like it had his. “Please forgive me.”
“There is nothing to forgive.” He cupped her cheek. “I would not allow you or Emily to be put in harm’s way. Not for anything, Shannon.”
“But he’s your son,” she managed to say into his mind because her vocal chords refused to work. “How can you…”
The next thing she knew his lips brushed hers. It was brief but so profound she lost her breath as he pulled away just enough that their lips remained centimeters from one another. “One of our children is already in harm’s way. Another will not be added to it.”
Shannon barely processed his words she was so caught up in his taste lingering on her lips. Had he said our children? He had, right? Yet she couldn’t focus on that. All she could do was run her tongue over her lips and relish the flavor. His flavor. It almost felt like she could taste what he was made of. And it wasn’t what she expected.
“You used to laugh and smile all the time,” she whispered before she could stop herself. For a flicker of a moment, she could see his smile. Hear his laughter. Then it faded. Long ago. Shannon closed her eyes and pulled away. He had been taken down a path he didn’t deserve all because there was a glitch in the system. All because…
Her eyes shot open.
The cave was gone. The water at her feet vanished. Now she stood on a shore with hundreds of men and women coming together. Vikings with their blades drawn and fury on their faces. Battle raged. Matthew, Sigrunn, Freydis and so many more, fought, determined to conquer.
This was the infamous battle that took so much from Matthew.
Seconds later he vanished yet the battle raged on.
Yet she knew where he went.
It all made sense now.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged fantasy, Fury of a Viking, Romance, Sky Purington, Time travel by firstname.lastname@example.org with 9 comments.
Bleeding Hearts is part of The Spellbound Boxed Set, a compilation of 20+ full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads and will be released on May 2, 2017! Pre-Order sale only 99 cents. See special offer below and a rafflecopter give away.
Readers of all ages will be swept away by this fascinating mix of existing titles and brand new content, full of pages brimming with faeries, witches, vampires, shifters, psychics, Greek gods, angels, demons, and even ghosts!
With over a million words of fiction, this is your one stop shop for urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, shifter romance, vampire romance, elemental magic, time travel, and MORE from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors!
Although some of these reads may be gritty and dark, this is a collection of clean reads that anyone will enjoy!
A little about Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton
Sophie Galen is an advice columnist whose work leaves her neck-deep in other people’s problems. Thanks to her compassion, her gut instinct, and her magnetic charm, Sophie really knows how to attract little black clouds.
Marek Thurzo is no little black cloud; he’s a maelstrom. Marek is Demivampire, a race with the potential to evolve into vampire. A warrior who’s taken his share of spiritual damage, he hovers dangerously close to destruction.
He seeks salvation. She’s driven to save him. But what if he can’t be saved?
Sympathy for his plight becomes true empathy as Sophie’s hidden nature is revealed. Marek suspects she may be one of the Sophia, oracle and redemption of the damned Demivampire. She alone can turn back the evolutionary clock.
All she needs is the courage to face her fears. Can she save him from Falling?
A Sneak Peek into BLEEDING HEARTS – Demimonde Book 1 by Ash Krafton
In the great hall housing the Egyptian exhibitions, I immediately noted the change in the atmosphere. The room was cool and dry, its climate controlled to mimic the conditions in which the relics had existed in their native land.
The entire room had been designed to resemble an Old Kingdom temple. The main lights were dimmed while strategically-placed spotlights emphasized massive columns and magnificent wall carvings like sunbeams through temple windows.
I scanned the room. No other tourists. Even better. I meandered, enjoying the rare opportunity to linger.
Craning my neck, I ran my gaze up each of the columns, reading the images, admiring the palm leaves carved at the tops like great stone trees. Eyes toward the ceilings, I turned slowly around, admiring the handiwork of the ancient artists.
What was it like to live in those lands and those times? Could an ancient version of my spirit have been there, stepping barefoot and silently through a sandy temple like this one?
Lost in contemplation, I was completely unprepared for the shock of smacking into someone, bumping him hard enough to lose my balance. I’d have fallen had he not caught my arm. Wide-eyed with consternation, I stammered an apology to the handsome but serious-faced gentleman.
“You are not hurt, I hope?” His voice, deep and smooth, sent shivers marching down my neck, between my shoulders, down my spine.
“I’m okay.” I shook my head, too shy to make direct eye contact, wishing I’d checked my hair and lipstick before coming in. “I’m far too adept at being inept.”
He flashed a grin and I caught a glimpse of nice white teeth. “Temples are places for spiritual reflection. It is forgivable if your vision was turned inward, rather than toward where you were walking.”
His expression softened by amusement, he tilted his head toward the pillars. “Majestic, aren’t they?”
I stole another glance at him—black hair smoothed back into a discreet tail, clear light skin framed by long sideburns, strong jaw culminating in a square, cleft chin. Like the other items in the museum, something about him made me want to look closer, inspect each detail.
A subtle flush warmed my cheeks and ears so I quickly turned back to the heights of the exhibition. Murmuring a sound of agreement, I circled the column, stepping a few feet away so I could see both him and the stone. “Do you visit this museum often?”
Furtive glances allowed me to take in more of his appearance a tiny section at a time. Clothing dark as his hair. Long blazer, something in between a suit coat and an overcoat. In one hand he carried a bound book and fountain pen, as if he’d been making notes.
His gaze was calm and steady and entirely on me. Taking a deep breath I permitted the contact of the direct look. My boldness was well-rewarded. His Paul Newman lips brought to mind the sculptured busts on display in the Greco-Roman Quarters and he wore a stern expression that cast a veil of hardness upon his features, enhancing the impression he’d been carved from marble.
Except for his eyes. The Roman busts bore eyes that were blank and white but this man’s eyes were alive with bright green color. Like gemstones, they glittered and drew my gaze.
“No, actually,” he said. “My first time here. Although, I admit, I’m drawn to places like this.” His voice made music of the words—deep bass notes and soothing rhythm.
“Ah!” I said. “A man after my own heart.” His left eyebrow arched so sharply I thought it might disappear into his hairline and I hurriedly continued. “Are you a professor?”
“No, nothing like that. I do studying of my own, it’s not a living. It’s more of a hobby. Personal research, of sorts.”
“Studying past times is one of my pastimes. It’s my preferred form of entertainment.”
“Mmm.” Eyebrow cocked again, he cast a disapproving look at me and swept his hand around the contrived temple. “Would the gods be pleased to know they are reduced to the level of entertainment?”
“I hope so.” I kept my tone light. Considering the seriousness of his expression, I didn’t want to accidentally insult him. “Otherwise, they’d have to be content with staying dead, right?”
His gaze swept over me and I shivered again as if the touch had been tangible, a brush of fingertips against my cheek.
“Well, I’ll leave you to your worship. I mean, your wanderings.” He gave me a conspirator’s wink. “Unless…”
He hesitated, with a quiet clearing of throat as he tucked his notebook and pen into an inside pocket. “You wouldn’t mind a companion? Sometimes one sees things differently when seeing through another’s eyes. I would appreciate a new perspective.”
I mulled it over, listening to the rain spattering the windows and distant voices echoing faintly from other rooms. Although I’d looked forward to a quiet afternoon, it might be nice to spend it with someone who seemed to share my interests. He certainly was attractive, and his pleasant voice intrigued me.
I realized I’d become used to living inside a shell. This man made me want to step outside for once.
“I’d like that.” I smiled at his pleased expression. “I’m Sophie, by the way.” I stuck out my hand in introduction.
Instead of shaking my hand, he bent his head over it and pressed polite lips to the backs of my fingers. The quaint gesture would have seemed strange and out of place had we been elsewhere. “I am Marek. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Fingers tingling from the unexpected kiss, I fought the urge to curtsy. “Well, Marek. Lead me into the past.”
His almost-smile sent a thrill down the back of my neck. “That’s exactly the sort of thing I’d hoped you say. Shall we?”
He turned on his heel and swept out a hand with a slight bow, indicating the archway to another exhibit. For the first time since I’d been coming to this museum, I wondered what I’d see on the other side, and was surprised to realize I wasn’t afraid to find out.
The first chapters of books by each featured author are also available in the Spellbound Sampler, available on Wattpad
Purchase Spellbound Collection from:
A bit about author Ash Krafton:
Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction girl through and through, Ash writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels as well as poetry and short fiction. She also writes for New Adult audiences under the name AJ Krafton. Her work has won a bunch of awards and was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. When she’s not writing, she’s practicing Tai Chi, listening to loud rock and metal, or crushing on supervillains.
Most recently, she’s re-released her urban fantasy trilogy THE BOOKS OF THE DEMIMONDE because she never really left the world of Sophie and her Demivamps. She’s also working on the next installment of her Demon Whisperer series.
Find out more when you visit www.ashkrafton.com
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Ash Krafton, Bleeding Hearts, compilation, Giveaway, Multi-Author, Paranormal, Romance, Spellbound by email@example.com with 4 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Susan V. Vaughn, author of Beyond Fate just released on March 24, 2016!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Susan and Beyond Fate.
Susan if you could use one line to discribe Beyond Fate, what would it be? Years of separation mean nothing when love is in the air…
What inspired this particular story?
I have a huge connection to Beyond Fate because I wrote the first chapter of it when I was still in college. I attended Central Michigan University, which is the same college my characters meet. The fraternity party they were at is based off a frat house I used to go to all the time. Years later, when I found this story, I decided it needed a proper ending. I began the story from a college perspective, which is when my characters first fall in love. I finished the story from an adult perspective, which is when my characters get their second chance at love.
What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?
I like to write the dialogue in a scene first, then go back through and add the action. Not only does this help me break through writers block, it decreases instances of choppy dialogue. It’s also a great way to give my characters their own voice while staying true to the story line.
What inspired you to write?
I have been writing romance for five years now. I started doing it for myself because I enjoy the creative process so much. But then things changed. I watched my children grow, and develop their love of writing. All the journals around my house now are filled with my kid’s imagination. There is no paper left in our printer, no notebooks unfilled. My children are little paper thieves! They write because I write. I have opened their world to the notion that you can make a living from your imagination. My children have given my creativity a greater purpose.
Do you see yourself in your characters?
Both the main characters in Beyond Fate suffer the loss of a loved one. For Russell, the loss is his sister. For Julia, the loss is her best friend. Although Katherine Webb is dead, both Russell and Julia began experiencing signs from her. But it’s only when they start following those signs that they find their paths intertwined again. It’s almost as if Kat is playing matchmaker from beyond, which is consequently how the story got its name.
I really connected to this story and to the characters, because I know what it’s like to lose someone I love. I know so many other people know this pain as well. Loss is a part of human existence. It is something that connects us all.
What do you want your readers to take away from Beyond Fate?
This book takes you on an emotional journey. There is love, loss, heartache, and of course, laughter. Every good romance has got to have laughter! For my two main characters fate leads them in directions they never thought possible, which is what I hope readers will experience while reading it.
Sounds like a greaat book.
Tell us a little more about Beyond Fate.
Julia Diaz never wanted to fall for her friend’s older brother, especially at a college frat party. But, for some reason, her heart was stolen by Russell that night. Eight years after, she never forgot him. Now destiny has brought them together. Only this time Russell is no longer a boy. He’s a man who knows what he wants and will not be denied.
Russell Webb used to be optimistic, and fun loving until a family tragedy turned his world on its side. Putting all his focus on work, he picked himself back up, and managed to turn his grief into something resembling a life. When a woman from his past reappears, and gives him a glimpse of true happiness, he’ll do anything to secure her heart. Even face the darkness he has avoided for so long.
How about a peek into the book itself?
His heart pounded as he made up the distance between them. He’d fought the urge to hold her in his arms all week. He no longer could.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Her question was lost as he pulled her against him, and covered her lips with his own. She sank desperately into his embrace for a moment, before pushing him back. “Russ, stop.”
“Why?” He grabbed one of her hands, and kissed the soft skin of her palm. She smiled, her face flushing red, her eyes flashing hazel.
“Because we are supposed to be friends, and we’re at work.” She glanced nervously around the deserted hallway.
“Nah, work’s over,” he said lightly, refusing to address the friendship statement. “It’s time for us.” He secured her hand in his, and led them toward the parking lot with single focus. “I’m taking you to dinner.”
“Wait! I have to grab my things from the music room.”
“No time for that.” He quickened his pace through the parking lot, determined to take her to dinner, not caring who witnessed his desperation. He’d waited all week for this opportunity.
“I guess you’re not giving me a choice then?” She sounded amused, not annoyed, a good sign.
“Now you get it.” He winked back at her. “I am your boss, after all.”
She sighed loudly in exasperation, and then began to giggle. It made him grin like a man who had never been happier in his life.
About the Author:
Romance Author, Susan V. Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk. Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings. When she wasn’t working on the next soul-crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.
It didn’t take long for this hairdresser by trade to turn her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories. Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios.
Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-V.-Vaughn/e/B016H54WWI/
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Beyond Fate.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Beyond Fate, Contemporary, Fate, Romance, Susan V. Vaughn by firstname.lastname@example.org with 3 comments.